Pulmonary Artery Balloon Counterpulsation for Right Ventricular Failure: I. Experimental Results

Milos Opravil, Andrew J. Gorman, Tom C. Krejcie, Lawrence L. Michaelis, John M. Moran*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The effects of pulmonary artery balloon counterpulsation (PABC) as a circulatory assist for the failing right ventricle were investigated. Sixteen anesthetized dogs underwent instrumentation to measure cardiac output and to record pressures in both ventricles, the pulmonary artery, and the aorta. Autonomic control of the heart was surgically and pharmacologically ablated. A specially designed counterpulsation balloon was inserted through the right ventricular (RV) outflow tract into the pulmonary artery. Pulmonary hypertension, induced acutely by the microembolization of the pulmonary circulation with glass beads combined with infusion of serotonin, served as a model for development of acute RV failure. Immediate effects of PABC were investigated in 10 dogs during normal function and failure of the right ventricle at different levels of preload. After further embolization which caused progressive cardiogenic shock, the effects of 10 minutes of PABC, and of its withdrawal, were examined. In all cases, PABC immediately decreased RV preload and afterload. In the failing right ventricle, counterpulsation also significantly increased cardiac output. Progressive cardiogenic shock was successfully reversed by PABC; after 10 minutes of counterpulsation, increases in cardiac output (+53%), arterial pressure (+55%), and RV minute work (+62%) were observed, paralleled by a fall in RV preload (−22%). After PABC was discontinued, the circulatory status again began to deteriorate. We conclude that PABC effectively improves function of the failing right ventricle caused by acute pulmonary hypertension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-253
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Surgery


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